A woman who said Friday that a man matching the description of the second Bourbon Street shooter assaulted her in the Lower 9th Ward in late April said Saturday that after reviewing enhanced images of the Bourbon Street gunman, she no longer believes he was the same person who allegedly broke into her house and fired a pistol at her as she fled.
The woman spoke on the condition of anonymity because she said she feared for her safety.
She said that on Friday night three State Police detectives came to her house and showed her high-resolution images of the second gunman. According to the woman, the man in the photos appeared to be heavier than her assailant and had a different hairstyle.
The New Orleans Advocate is not naming the woman’s alleged assailant because he has not been named as a suspect or person of interest in the Bourbon Street shooting by law enforcement.
“I don’t believe (he) is the second shooter after they showed me several enlarged stills from video that are much higher resolution than anything I’ve seen,” the woman wrote in an email Saturday.
She said she could tell from the photo that the man identified as the second shooter was African-American and was wearing a chef’s shirt, which was either blue or black. She said the photo was of such high resolution that she could see the man’s facial hair.
Capt. Doug Cain, a State Police spokesman, said he couldn’t comment on the woman’s story because State Police are still actively investigating the lead.
It was generated when the woman called Martin Regan, the defense attorney for Trung Le, after reading news reports chronicling how witnesses had described the second gunman as a highly intoxicated man wielding a pistol and wearing chef’s garb.
Le has been indicted on one count of manslaughter and one count of attempted murder in the case.
The woman told Regan the description matched one of her former neighbors, a French Quarter kitchen worker who had been arrested for aggravated assault with a firearm after shooting at her. The man has a lengthy rap sheet, including arrests on assault, public drunkenness, disturbing the peace and marijuana possession. According to his Facebook profile, he works at a restaurant three blocks from the site of the shooting.
Regan was optimistic Friday that he had located the second shooter. He turned the information over to State Police, saying he didn’t trust the NOPD to conduct the investigation.
When reached by phone Saturday, Regan was surprised the woman now says she does not believe the man in the photos is her former neighbor. He said he still thought from his own viewing of surveillance video that the two men were a match, even referring to them — based on their photos — as “twin brothers.”
He suggested that videos often add 15 to 20 pounds and that the man’s deadlocks may have been concealed under his hat.
Regan added, though, that he wouldn’t be disappointed if State Police rule the man out.
“If it’s not the guy, I’ll be the first to say it,” he said.
The woman’s alleged assailant has been indicted for aggravated assault with a firearm. He recently skipped a court date in Municipal Court for a charge of not neutering his dog.
The woman said the pictures she was shown by State Police were of much higher quality than anything she’s seen publicly released. Regan and prosecutors squabbled at a hearing this week over an annotated, enhanced video, which he claimed the NOPD possessed and which hadn’t been turned over to his defense team.
Prosecutors provided Regan with 40 hours worth of surveillance video Friday and have denied having any other video in their possession.